Musée du Mur de l'Atlantique

Parking

Thre is no car park for the museum, but street parking is possible and public car parks are a short walk away.

Toilets

There are well maintained toilets on site..

Gift Shop

There is an array of books and smaller gifts in the reception area, but also a boutique with clothing and other items.

This one is a bit of a hidden gem - that is if it's possible to hide a six-storey concrete tower in the middle of a small town. The building itself is just as much the museum as the artefacts and exhibits located inside. Situated a few streets away from the ferry port at Ouistreham, it's almost an incongruous site amidst the residential houses which surround it. In 1944 the 52 foot high structure was the fire-control bunker and local headquarters for the anti-aircraft defence of the harbour, River Orne and Caen Canal. It was finally captured on 9th June by men of the Royal Engineers after a four-hour effort to breach the armoured entrance. Two German officers and 50 enlisted men were captured.

The building was restored in 1987 and stands today as an excellent insight into the life behind the thick concrete of the Atlantic Wall. Over six floors, the life of the German soldiers who were stationed here is told through information panels, artefacts and some very detailed life-size dioramas. These include the radio room, defensive machine gun position, bunk rooms, hospital and the armoury. There are lots of original and restored fixtures and fittings present, including telephones, generators and air filtration equipment and these, along with the quantity and quality of smaller articles, really bring the dioramas to life.

As a note to those with mobility issues or that may suffer from claustrophobia, it should be noted that there are no lifts in the building and visitors must use the original narrow, winding stairway. Even out of season it can get quite crowded inside. There is also no natural light inside, at least until you reach the top floor observation post. This position offers fantastic views of Outistreham and Sword Beach, and you can even take a look through an original German spotting scope. On one occasion we were actually able to climb the ladder to stand outside on the top of the bunker. On every other visit, however, this has been out of bounds. It does actually make us wonder if we were really allowed up there in the first place.

Outside the bunker there are a number of interesting items which can be viewed without having to buy a ticket for the bunker itself. A landing craft which was used in the film Saving Private Ryan is probably the star attraction, but there's also a German 88mm gun, a half-track, Stuart light tank and the remains of an M7 Priest self-propelled gun, recovered from the sea in 1982. In the past there has also been a V1 rocket, something unique to the Normandy D-Day museums, but during our last visit this was no longer there.

There are toilets, a small museum gift shop with books and the usual D-Day souvenirs, plus a slightly larger boutique shop which has been constructed at the side of the building. There is no dedicated car park but it's not too hard to find a space in one of the nearby streets. It's also actually quite easy to park at the ferry terminal and walk to the bunker.


Updated: July 2016



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